Thursday, June 7, 2012

Conquering RCS

As I mentioned in my last post, I've been struggling with reverse culture shock since being home.  It's been another week, and although I'm getting "back in the swing of things," it's still not easy.  

I miss Martinique in ways that I didn't expect.  I've only been gone for 2 weeks, yet it feels like it was a lifetime ago.  I had known for a while that I didn't want to live in Martinique forever, but I wasn't ready yet to say goodbye...

So to combat my reverse culture shock, I've created a few general rules for myself: 


Rule #1:  Stay busy!  This is the best advice for most situations.  It's just like when a relationship ends... You have to stay busy to keep your mind off of it.  I miss my life in Martinique the most when I'm at home by myself; staying busy is helping me keep my sanity!


Rule #2:  Don't talk about it.  I know this sounds a little harsh, but people don't really want to hear it.  Or if they do, they won't understand.  Unless they've lived abroad, people can't relate to your experiences.  Chances are, attempting to describe your experience in any detail will only leave you feeling more isolated.  So I will only talk about Martinique in a very general sense, unless pressed for details.


Rule #3:  Plan the next step.  Having something to look forward to keeps your mind occupied.  Obviously I've just returned from an amazing experience, but now it's time to get excited about the next one! 


I would argue that Rule #3 is the most difficult.  The next step??  I'm not sure what direction I want to head in, but I have decided this:


I will move out of Traverse City by the end of September.


There, I've announced it, so now I have to do it.  (I've been hearing a lot about social accountability and how telling your peers that you will do something helps you to actually stick to it.)

Where am I going to go?  Who knows.  What am I going to do?  Get a job?  Go to grad school?  Again, no idea.  But I'll figure out those details over the next few months... preferably at the beach...
 
At Lake Michigan